You'd think that for the leather-clad members of the Bravery, the summer-festival season would be unbearable. And you'd be mostly correct ... after all, a black motorcycle jacket doesn't exactly breathe.
But there was a notable exception at last weekend's HFStival in Baltimore, where despite afternoon temperatures that rocketed into the 80s, the guys managed to rip through an energetic 30-minute set without breaking much of a sweat or mussing up their precious pompadours. Onstage, the band beamed with a collection of "I can't believe we're actually here!" grins.
"I grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and WHFS was my station. I grew up on that alternative stuff," said Bravery frontman Sam Endicott. "And every year they had the HFStival, I was like, 'I'm going!' And every year I screwed it up and I couldn't go. One year I had summer school and one year my ride fell through at the last minute. And finally, this year we go — and we're onstage. It's pretty amazing."
For kids growing up in the D.C./Baltimore area, the HFStival marks the beginning of summer (see "Foo Fighters, Good Charlotte Usher In Summer Concert Season"). Endicott was no exception, and neither were the thousands who packed M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, removing T-shirts, moshing and singing along lustily to the Bravery's brand-new single, "Fearless."
That sight was kind of odd, considering that "Fearless" is Endicott's take on the paranoia and fear that swirled around New York City and the rest of the nation in the days and months following 9/11 (see "Killers Beef, Hipster Backlash Can't Bring The Bravery Down"). It's not exactly prime mosh pit fodder, although the frontman said the audience's reaction is exactly what he'd hoped for.
"That's how it should be, because we write songs that have a darkness to it, but it's about getting past it and having a good time," he said. "The song's about accepting that you have these things going on in your life, but you're not going to let them beat you. That's what it's all about. So when I see that fat kid in the mosh pit crushing some girl, I'm like, 'All right, that's cool!' "
While reports of fat kids at the band's Monday night homecoming show at New York's Irving Plaza were hard to come by, there was no shortage of tabloid coverage about some other fans in attendance: namely the Strokes, the Kings of Leon and Thursday lead singer Geoff Rickly, who all scoped the show from the VIP area.
A few British publications even reported that Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas was seen chatting up Endicott, and that a collaboration between the two appeared imminent (the Bravery's spokesperson would not confirm). It's not like they wouldn't have some material to jam on; the Bravery are already recording basic material for their sophomore album.
"We record on the back of a bus or in a hotel room," Endicott said. "We're always working on stuff, and we've got some things coming together. It's different for us because most bands book time in the studio and pull an album out of their ass in two months, and with us, it's whenever it strikes us."
He's a bit clearer on the band's plans for a third single from its self-titled debut, and for the somewhat controversial video he's got in mind.
" 'Public Service Announcement' will be the third single. I wanted to do a video with lemurs, because we saw a thing on the nature channel. Lemurs don't run, they skip, so if we could set them on fire, that'd be good," he said. "It'd be like that Spike Jonze video [for Wax's 'California'], but instead of a guy on fire, it'd be with a skipping lemur."
For a feature on the Bravery's beef with the Killers, check out "The Vanilla Thrilla! The Killers Vs. The Bravery."